Tom Gray’s Nature Notes: Unusual bird sighting

Tom Gray
Tom Gray

I had a surprise call from my old friend J.C. from the Coaltown of Balgonie last midweek.

It was not just to confirm the presence of Roe Deer by the old track that leads past the Model Flying Club hut towards Thornton, but to draw my attention to the existence of a most unusual and conspicuous bird in the area. To my amazement he told me of a white Common Buzzard that had come to perch briefly on his garden hedge, before flying off in the Thornton direction. Having got close enough to see the colour he was able to report that the eyes were not the pink colour one would expect in a typical albino bird. When airborne, he said, the flapping flight pattern, size and colour tempted him to mistake the bird for a Barn Owl, which a few years ago were known to nest in Thornton itself. Have you seen this mysterious Buzzard? Please let the Gazette know if you do. It will be a sight worth seeing!.

Jack was able to confirm that as usual at this time of year there have been a few Wheatears displaying on the waste ground just south of the village as they pass through on their return migration to breed further north on moorland, and maybe even nesting in the dry stane dykes of the Lomonds which provide the most suitable habitat nearby. And indeed more than that he was able to report the first local appearance of a Peacock butterfly, the first to emerge from hibernation this year, and now a common sight in Fife later in the year, but was almost unknown as a species in this area when I first started reporting on Glenrothes wildlife in the seventies.

By the time you are reading this I’ll have returned from making a weekend trip to celebrate our granddaughter Sophie’s first birthday in Manchester.